Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Slumlord or Landlord? #3 Put On Another Sweater!

We had been living in our new San Francisco apartment for about six months when we started to wonder about our new landlords. We're they landlords or slumlords? At the time we were two women and a man living in their apartment. If something needed to be fixed then we would fix it ourselves. If something big needed to be fixed then we asked our guy roommate 'Wes' to call the landlords. They gave him little trouble and had the item fixed right away. But if ''Sarah' or I called then the lady landlord gave us a lot of attitude. She would also try to get out of spending the money. I remember thinking 'This is not going to be fun.'

I really enjoyed the location of our home which was located on top of a hill. It had views from the roof, washer and dryer (which is unheard of in San Francisco) the back bedrooms faced a garden, located near a cable car line and the kitchen was huge. My roommates were great and Wes and I became good friends. He had so much to share. He was ten years older then me, loved all women (Manwhore was his other name) and traveled the world making documentary films. He fascinated me.

I started to learn, when I met a new woman that Wes was 'dating' eating breakfast the next morning to not call them by name, but call them either sweetie or honey. Neither Wes or I would probably see them again. And then Wes got an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for three months to film. So he decided to store his stuff and move out.

Even though things had gone well with Wes, Sarah and I decided to get a third female roommate to move in.  We chose 'Jillian' to move in and enjoyed all three of us living together until we had small problems in the apartment. Once again I called the landlords and was met with resistance.

This was a fun game of cat and mouse that we played. 

Instead we fixed things ourself to remove the hassle. And then the heat gave out in January, during six weeks of pouring rain and temperatures low enough at night that can have a fire on. (Yes, I know San Francisco does not get that cold as I am from Canada :)

I asked myself 'There was no way that the landlords would let us go without heat was there?' Of course there was. Many calls were made back and forth. We were told to put on more fires, use space heaters and that they were working on replacing the heat system. This took three weeks without heat. 

We finally decided to call the rental board and were given the advice to write letters to the landlords documenting the incident. Three copies were made. One was sent to the landlord, one sent to the rental board and we kept the other.

Imagine the look on the landlords face when she received that letter. Now imagine her voice on the phone when she called me.

Landlord "Yes, Laura we received your letter. There was no need for you to get the San Francisco rental board involved."
Me "Yes, sorry there was a need as we are very cold and this has taken weeks." (I was shaking in my boots.)
And then the Landlord said" Can't you just put on another sweater?"
Me "I am wearing three!"

This lit the fire under her and our heat was fixed the next day. Have you ever dealt with a Slumlord? How would you have dealt with this situation? Check out my guest post on Fifi Flowers blog today. I loved writing about an American in Paris. Thanx again Fifi!


Char said...

oh yes, the place I just moved to was a slum apartment - built in the 60's and rent was soooo cheap. but as a result they never fixed the dishwasher, garbage disposal or finally the hole in the roof. Glad I'm not there anymore.

Anonymous said...

Oh man! What a great story! It lends credence to the adage "if it sounds too good to be true,it probably is."
Do you still live there?

Dollface said...

Hmm a slum lord?! I dont know how to deal with that..... but good story!! hope everything turns out well, xxxoo

Laura said...

Char: I'm glad your not there anymore as well! so that's why are rent was so cheap?

Audrey: I am happy to say that I no longer live there but was there for 5 years. Ah the things you do for living in such a great city.

Dollface: Such a good story right? :) Thanx for your comment.

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

yikes, but good for you! thank goodness you had the upper hand in being able to report your landlord. that's horrible that you didn't have any heat - whether you live in SF or not (which I think gets very cold!).
great story!!

Rylie said...

I have never had to deal with someone like that.
I've been lucky because I live on campus, and I'm not looking forward to moving out, because of that.

Anonymous said...

I hear you on this one. I've had some horrible landlords. Actually a bad landlord sitch is what pushed me to take on a mortgage. I'd rather be in charge.

Laura said...

Mademoiselle Frou Frou: I am so glad you liked the story and it was a crazy experience. Thank you for your comment and love your blog!

Rylie: I guess it can be half the fun and look at all of the stories that I now have?!

Just Playing Pretend: In charge is much better. You are so right.

Draffin Bears said...

Shame that the Landlord did not fix the problem in the first place and then you would not have had to go to the Rental Board.

I hope that the Landlord will look after you better and not just tell you to put on another sweater.
Great story.


3 Bay B Chicks said...

I LOVE your stories. You have such a gift for writing.

So great to connect with you over the phone today. Seeing our little Facebook network in your sidebar really makes me smile. The picture is on our site now too. :)


Bon Don said...

Funny thing is I think I'm my own slumlord!

Laura said...

Draffin Bears: The best part of those landlords are being able to tell you about them :) Thanx for stopping by.

3 Bay B Chicks: It was so great talking with you as well Francesca. Fingers crossed that we will have the largest Facebook group assembled ever!

Bon Don: I knew it was you :)